Indian Wells: Aryna Sabalenka makes it to maiden SF; awaits duel with Maria Sakkari
by ABBEY JOHNSON | VIEW 5551
Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka have set the semi-finals in the bottom half of the draw at Indian Wells. On Wednesday, Sakkari and Sabalenka won their respective quarter-finals. Sakkari, the seventh seed from Greece overcame a potent threat from Petra Kvitova in their quarter-final.
The Czech, seeded 15th raced away to lead by a set and break before her higher-ranked opponent bounced back in the match. Sakkari posted a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win after two hours and 15 minutes of play. Kvitova won 75% of her first-serve points in the first set to Sakkari’s 44%.
While she started the second set just as strong, Sakkari finished the set by winning 70% of her first-serve points to Kvitova’s 63%. The two-time Wimbledon champion, however, won 60% of her second-serve points and 69% of points on return on the world no.
7’s second serve. In the final set, although Kvitova’s level didn’t dip much, Sakkari’s went up substantially. The 27-year-old won 93% of her first-serve points and 82% points on return on Kvitova’s second serve.
She also saved both break points she faced while converting two break points of her own. For the match, Sakkari had eight fewer winners than Kvitova’s 29 and 10 unforced errors fewer than the latter’s 52.
Indian Wells: Aryna Sabalenka's 2023 magnifence continues
In the other quarter-final, Sabalenka notched a 6-4, 6-0 victory over sixth seed Coco Gauff after 64 minutes of play.
The world no. 2 put in 73% of her first serves and won 87% of her first-serve points. Gauff, on the other hand, put in 52% of her first serves, winning 57% points. Sabalenka also won 54% of her second-serve points and 58% of points on return on Gauff’s second serve.
The 2023 Australian Open winner didn’t face any break point but made good of four of eight break points on Gauff’s serve. In the Indian Wells semi-final, Aryna Sabalenka will go in with a 4-3 lead against Maria Sakkari although the Greek’s won two matches in a row against Sabalenka, recently, including one at the 2022 WTA Finals.